Home Away Home, 2020 30 plexiglass fish tanks, plexiglass arm table chair, Airbnb listing, stones, algae, water, lamp, sign Dimensions variable
In Home Away Home, fish tanks made from plexiglass cubes stand stacked on top of each other, resembling units of an apartment complex. Each tank has been previously occupied by the pet fish Hamaguchi has in her studio. While her fish was living in a tank, algae and moss naturally began to grow. Instead of cleaning out the tank, she moved her fish to a new tank and kept the old tank. Hamaguchi continued this process for more than a year and half, yielding 30 tanks marked with the indexes of her fish’s home life. The cubes are now vacant—memories of the life that once inhabited them. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Hamaguchi has been quarantining in a place far away from her home country. Like a fish living in an aquarium far from home and unable to get out, she had found herself confined. She feels that she is always circulating between her empty room in Tokyo and her current residence in New York—if only in her mind. As a way of facilitating these mental gymnastics, not just for herself but also for anyone caught between places, the fish tanks are waiting to be rented via their Airbnb listings as another kind of imitation home. They provide a space for thoughts to collect and an opportunity to imagine that empty room that exists somewhere else. A QR code is included in the pamphlet every exhibition visitor is handed and links directly to the actual Airbnb rental page. The description of the listing reads:
Once guests have booked a fish tank, they are allowed to sit on the installation’s plexiglass chair (made of the same material as the fish homes) to take time to closely observe the tank (situated on the accompanying plexiglass table) and let their thoughts circulate there and elsewhere. Each reservation lasts for one whole day so occupants may stay as long as they like on the day booked. Before the guest arrives and after the guest has already left for the day, a plexiglass sign inscribed with “NO VACANCY” sits on the chair so no one else can sit on it that day. Other exhibition viewers are observers of the situation rather than participants, most often seeing the chair absent of its occupant but sometimes catching a peek of the guest in contemplation. As the work was made during the time travel restrictions are most strict, her project reimagines the platform as a space for the mind to travel rather than the body.
- Welcome to Home Away Home! This 6”x6”x6” tank is filled with conditioned water maintained by microorganisms, furnished with a perfectly smoothed moss-covered stone, and surrounded by modern glass walls covered with algae. It might be a place for you to observe for a couple of days or even for your thoughts to stay as you reflect on what makes a place your ‘home.’